What Furlough did to My Kids

My family and I worked as church planters in Northern Ireland for 8 years. In September of 2013, we came back to the States for a 10-month furlough. Our furlough is actually over now, and we are returning to Northern Ireland in 2 days. But it might surprise most people that I was NOT excited about returning to the States back in September, and the main reason for my lack of enthusiasm was my children. Probably many of my fears are the same fears that some mothers struggle with if their husband ever surrendered to be a missionary to a foreign field.

My thoughts were:

– this is where my children were born

– I don’t want my children to have to leave their school

– saying goodbye to friends will be too hard

– we will miss all of our church people so much

– I don’t want my kids to face culture shock (in America)

– I feel like our family is being uprooted

– my kids might not like the food in America

– what if we dress differently or talk differently than Americans (people will think we are weird)

– my kids can hardly survive a 2-hour trip in the car, how will they survive travelling all over America

The devil used these thoughts and many more to steal my joy. Ireland had become my home, my comfort zone, and I didn’t think I could be happy anywhere else. And I surely didn’t think my kids could be happy anywhere else. Isn’t it funny (or dangerous, rather) how narrow-minded we can become as mothers? We box our children in to this little vision that we have of them, and forget that God is much bigger than anything we can imagine. Here I am now on the other end of this giant obstacle (from my perspective), and my kids not only survived, but God made them to prosper!

Here are my thoughts now:

– my kids are way more flexible than they used to be

– my kids thrive even when we don’t have a routine

– my kids are way more outgoing than they used to be, they can make a new friend in an instant

– my kids have been exposed to some pretty awesome churches

– my kids have been influenced by tons of godly people

– my kids are learning at an early age to say goodbye for the sake of the gospel

– my kids got to do some pretty cool sightseeing all over America

– my kids can talk intelligently about America now

– my kids love road trips, a 12-hour trip is nothing to them!

– my kids have made amazing memories that will last forever

So, do I have any regrets that God brought us back to America for 10 months? NO WAY!!! Have my kids suffered at all from being uprooted from their normal life? NOT ONE BIT!!! God knew what was best for my kids. He knew they needed this, and that this would be good for them. I know now that this was all in God’s perfect plan, and that He used this time to help my kids in a way that I never could.

In saying all that, my kids still consider Northern Ireland home. They can’t wait to get back. When we land in Northern Ireland in 3 days, we will all be so happy.

With Love,



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  • 5 thoughts on “What Furlough did to My Kids

    1. Enjoyed reading this. We have great friends, who also just happen to be the children and grandchildren of our pastor, who are leaving for Ireland for the first time very soon. They are Monica Tharp´╗┐ and Philip Tharp´╗┐. Monica is having baby at the end of the summer and they plan to leave soon after. Wonderful servants of the Lord.

    2. I needed this today for a totally different reason than culture and kids. Just that when we fear or dread or worry about the future or the unknown, God already knows the “after” list that’s going to come from where He’s leading us. Oh, to trust without anxiety!

    3. Isn’t it amazing how God uses our kids to remind us to have faith like a child? It’s so easy to forget that we’re not in control. Things that seem so enormous are really fleeting moments. Wishing you all a wonderful homecoming in Northern Ireland!

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